Bromley v Harrogate Town: FA Cup night gives Simon Weaver a taste of success

Manager Simon Weaver wants more nights like Harrogate Town experienced on Monday – and that means churning out consistent results in the Conference, starting with today’s trip to leaders Bromley.

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.

Monday was a special night for the Sulphurites, hosting 2008 FA Cup winners Portsmouth in a televised game at a sold-out Wetherby Road.

Harrogate took the lead through Mark Beck, but Kenny Jackett’s League One side came back to win 2-1 with high-quality strikes from Brandon Haunstrup and Ronan Curtis.

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With Pompey’s place in the second round never secure until the final whistle, it was a good showcase at what more can be achieved at a club which is only in its second season in the fifth tier.

After missing out in last season’s play-offs, they have ambitions to join the Football League, and matches like today’s at Hayes Lane will be crucial.

“It’s exciting,” said Weaver, the division’s manager of the month for October. “The reaction from the fans when we scored on Monday, that’s what you want.

“They were jumping around in their numbers in the new terrace and the Kop, it was electric.

“That’s what we’ve got to visualise, a full stadium of 3,000 people.

“To get into the Football League we’ve got to aim for that and visualise that and keep working on and off the pitch to get the crowd in. We have to be able to look after the players so they come with us.

“Our players stepped up on Monday and nailed that level. We’ve done well so far in 18 months in the National League so why can’t so many of our players think, ‘Hang on, we can do it and we can do it here, we can go up and do well’?”

Their Cup exploits have slightly hampered Harrogate’s progress in the league. Their 4-2 defeat at Eastleigh in the last game before the Pompey clash was their first in 11 matches and ended a run of 19 points from a possible 21.

Bromley are the division’s top-scorers on their own ground, with 22 in 10 games, but lost there for the first time this season in their last match, against Wrexham. Their 3G pitch is a big advantage, but Town have one of their own.

Warren Burrell, who last week signed a new long-term contract, went off injured in the first half of Monday’s Cup tie.